The hottest team in baseball showed up in Cincinnati and the Tampa Bay Rays got crushed by the Reds on Monday night in the series opener. Not all went well for the Reds, though, as Hunter Greene had to leave the game after being hit in the leg by a comebacker in the 3rd inning.

Final R H E
Tampa Bay Rays (14-3) 1 8 1
Cincinnati Reds (7-9) 8 7 2
W: Gibaut (1-0) L: Beeks (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Neither team got a lot going in the 1st inning, but Tampa Bay put some pressure on Hunter Greene in the 2nd with two outs. Isaac Paredes picked up an infield single and then Josh Lowe flared a single into shallow right that Jake Fraley overran, allowing both runners to advance an extra base and put two men in scoring position. Greene clamped down and got Manuel Margot to ground out to end the inning and keep Tampa Bay off of the board.

Cincinnati got on the board a few minutes later when Kevin Newman lined a home run into the seats in left field to lead off the bottom of the frame. The homer was the second of the season for Newman. Tampa Bay tried to get that run back in the top of the 3rd when Christian Bethancourt led off with a double. Yandy Diaz hit a hard grounder up the middle that hit off of Hunter Greene’s shin before it rolled to Wil Myers at first who stepped on the bag for the out. Greene remained in the game after throwing a few pitches to show manager David Bell and trainer Tomas Vera that he was fine. Greene would rebound with a strikeout and a pop up to get out of the jam.

It turns out that perhaps he wasn’t fine because Greene did not take the mound in the 4th inning. It was instead Buck Farmer on the mound, and he worked a scoreless inning. In the bottom of the inning the Reds went to work. Kevin Newman led off with a double and then back-to-back walks loaded the bases. TJ Friedl came through with a 3-run double to extend the lead to 4-0 for Cincinnati.

Buck Farmer would return for the 5th and run into some trouble after back-to-back 1-out walks. That led to Alex Young entering the game and he quickly got a soft line out to first base that turned into a double play to end the inning. The next inning wasn’t as easy for Young, who allowed two singles and saw an error by Jonathan India load the bases with just one out. The lefty would follow up by striking out Josh Lowe, but that was the last batter he would face. Ian Gibaut came on to face Manuel Margot with two outs and the bases still juiced. Gibaut got soft contact as Margot blooped one into shallow right, but Jake Fraley raced in and made a diving catch to end the inning and keep the shutout alive. He’d return and toss a perfect top of the 7th inning, too.

In the bottom of the inning the Reds got some help from Tampa Bay’s bullpen. Jonathan India and Stuart Fairchild were both hit by pitches. That led to a Tyler Stephenson line drive RBI single that extended the Cincinnati lead to 5-0. Kevin Newman followed up with another big hit, singling up the middle to make it 6-0.

Kevin Herget took the mound in the top of the 8th to face the middle of the Rays order. A leadoff single by Randy Arozarena went nowhere as a ground out, pop up, and a strikeout followed as Cincinnati maintained their shutout. Nick Senzel led off the bottom of the inning with a single and then scored from first when Jose Barrero doubled into the left-center gap, with Barrero taking third base on the throw to the plate. TJ Friedl picked up his 4th RBI of the game with a ground out that scored Barrero, making it 8-0.

Tampa Bay got on the board in the top of the 9th when Josh Lowe led off with a homer off of Kevin Herget. That would be all the Rays would get as the Reds took game one of the series.

Key Moment of the Game

TJ Friedl’s 3-run double in the bottom of the 4th inning that turned a 1-run game into a 4-run game.

Notes Worth Noting

Even before Hunter Greene was hit by a comebacker his fastball velocity was down about 2 MPH. It’s certainly chilly in Cincinnati right now, but that is worth keeping an eye on. The Reds announced that X-rays on his tibia came back negative.

TJ Friedl set a new career high with four runs batted in. He had three on August 27, 2022 against Washington.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Tampa Bay Rays vs Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday April 18th, 6:40pm ET

TBA vs Nick Lodolo (2-0, 2.12 ERA)

64 Responses

  1. Redsfan4life

    This team with all it’s warts is so much more fun to watch so far this season.
    They have competed nearly every game so far.

  2. old-school

    Reds have a great shot at beating that 3-22 start from last year!
    Some of the updated projections have the Reds at 69-70 wins up from 65.5

    Beat the Rays and the first 2 + weeks are a success. Braves clearly a superior team but win tomorrow and basically played everyone else even with 7 games against the NL champ Phillies.

    Go Reds.

    • CI3J

      I wouldn’t say the Braves were “clearly superior”. The Reds lost all 3 games by just 1 run, and with a few breaks/better managing, they easily could have won all 3.

      • Jim t

        You missed the most important issue. If the players executed better.

  3. Mark Moore

    Fun game to watch tonight. Complete team effort. Didn’t look “fluky” to me either.

    Onward and upward!

  4. MBS

    This team is hanging around .500, and getting better. Now Weaver is here, and Sims is likely to return Wednesday. A big day for Lodolo, and the Reds tomorrow.

  5. Votto4life

    7,000 at tonight’s game. It has been a windy, cold Monday in Cincinnati.

    • Jim Walker

      The Enquirer/ Cincinnati(.)com has an article up which says the announced attendance of 7375 was the smallest crowd in the history of GABP including 2021 when capacity was capped at 30% because of COVID.

      I guess folks are finding other places to go and other things to do.

      • Old Big Ed

        The vast majority of tickets are sold in the pre-season, so you are going to see a lot of bad attendance figures, even if the team plays well all season. If the Reds are in contention in August and September, then there will be a little bit bigger walk-up crowd during the week and a bump on weekends.

        If the Reds contend or show major improvement with the emergence of EDLC, then the improvement in attendance will start in 2024.

      • Jim Walker

        @OBE>> I agree. The paltry announced attendance Monday is an indication of how much their base of season ticket package holders has deteriorated as it reflects tickets sold, not folks in the park.

        They are approaching the threshold of needing to operate like a minor league team by giving away tickets to get folks through the gates in hopes of making money by selling them concessions and souvenirs.

    • Rednat

      on a night like tonight in Cincinnati if the outfield with Mays, Aaron and Clemente there may be 10,000. we aren’t the hardiest of fan bases. that is why I tend to side with ownership as far as “not going all in”. so many other factors are involved in attendance at gabp. more than just winning

      • Dan

        You side with ownership “not going all in”? Even with the $100 million they bring in, guaranteed, every year from TV money?

        (I realize the local TV revenue is probably going to change, with the Bally mess. But every team gets $65 million a year from the national TV deal. That is flat-out guaranteed.)

        Not to mention… they were rich enough to buy a freaking team. If you can afford a team, you can afford the payroll.

        Anyway, I just feel like, if you’re looking for an investment that you want to run in a traditional way, and make a little profit every year… don’t buy a professional sports team. Buy some other regular old business that an entire city’s fanbase doesn’t care about.

        If you’ve committed to MLB team ownership, commit to being willing to take a loss now and then, to put a winning team out there!

        This is no slight to the current Reds team – I’m really enjoying watching them this year, and they have a lot of fun, energetic young players! They’re better than I expected! I’m a Reds fan through and through.

        This is 100% a slight to the Castellinis and the current ownership group.

  6. J

    I watched that whole game and still don’t believe any of it was real. Newman is the hitting star? Fraley is the defensive star? The Reds’ bullpen gives up 1 meaningless run in 6 innings after Greene is suddenly forced to leave? The Reds win by 7 despite having fewer hits and the same number of home runs? I’m pretty sure I dreamed that game.

    • Melvin

      Can’t complain about the offense, pitching, or the defense really. Good win. NOW push hard to keep it going. Momentum. A complete game by Lodolo would due nicely tomorrow. 🙂

    • Frogem

      That’s a hilarious take! I’m with you. 🙂

  7. MBS

    @Doug, I think you broke your record for articles written (5) in 1 day for RLN.

    • Doug Gray

      I wrote one of them last night. Doesn’t count.

  8. J

    If we asked ChatGPT to write a script for the most unlikely Reds’ victory possible, I think it would create this game.

    • Old Big Ed

      Why? The Rays built a winning streak against the awful Tigers, A’s, and Nationals and against the now-hapless Red Sox. All four were last in their division in 2022. The Rays are also a team that plays much better at home in controlled conditions, and they are only so-so on the road.

      The Reds have only played teams with winning records, except the NL champion Phillies, and the Reds had a better starting pitcher going.

      The same thing will be true tonight.

      The team overall has played fine and will get better. They are getting (expected) improvements in their 4th and 5th starters, plus will add EDLC and either Votto or CES at first base later in the season. Unlike the past few seasons, the Reds are fast and can play defense, and their top three starters are elite. And the minor league system is loaded.

      I intend to enjoy this season.

      • Tomn

        Speaking of edlc and ces, where are they and what are they doing? Haven’t seen their names in any milb box scores.

      • Jim Walker

        @TomN>> The last I heard EDLC and CES were still at extended spring training in Arizona. I believe at least one of them was reported to have begun “baseball related activities”.

        There were some (totally unofficial) murmurs that in EDLC’s case, he was in Arizona at least in part to protect his touchy hamstring from the often cold and damp conditions the AAA Bats often play in this time of year.

      • J

        I’m not talking about the Reds beating the Rays. I’m talking about beating the team with the best record in baseball by 7 runs despite having fewer hits, more errors, and the same number of HR’s, getting 6 innings of 1-run relief pitching, Newman is the hitting star, and Fraley is the defensive star. These are not predictions any of us would have made, I suspect.

      • Jim Walker

        I am still concerned with the infield middle defense. Barrero has a track record in the minors and prior MLB exposure to make it easy to believe he will settle in over time at SS.

        However, India’s play thus far in 2023 makes me nervous. Prior to coming to MLB, he had not been a 2B. Due to the shift, he spent much of his MLB career prior to this year as essentially a softball short fielder versus being a true 2B. Right now as a 2B, he looks neither sure handed nor settled.

        I’ll add Matt McLain to the list of comers we should keep an eye out for, possibly ahead of both EDLC and CES. He has posted a .961 OPS through his first 50 PAs at AAA. His K rate is a bit high at 24% but his BB rate is exactly half of that to give him a .373 OBP. He can play both middle IF spots and spent a year in CF at the D1 college level. So, it is not a stretch to see him able to play anywhere on the field except behind the plate or on the mound.

  9. Melvin

    “Even before Hunter Greene was hit by a comebacker his fastball velocity was down about 2 MPH. It’s certainly chilly in Cincinnati right now, but that is worth keeping an eye on.”

    I kind of think it was probably due to the cold weather. He also didn’t walk anyone. If he has to take a little off to become more efficient than I’m all for it. He can always reach back for the extra mph when he needs it.

    • DaveCT

      Is there anyone who would want Greene going flat out on a cold night? Doug, this is a nothingburger

    • CI3J

      It reminds me of an article I read about Johnny Cueto more than a decade ago. Cueto said he had an “epiphany” while sitting in the dugout watching Bronson Arroyo pitch. He realized he didn’t have to try to throw the ball through a brick wall with every pitch, and that it was much more effective to be able to locate your pitches and fool hitters. And it seems to have worked, because that’s when Cueto started to really come into his own as a pitcher.

      Greene’s whole problem is that he’s still pitching like he’s trying to overpower hitters. No matter how hard you throw, that’s simply not going to work in the MLB. What he really needs to work on is keeping hitters off-balance and fooling them. That’s why he needs to start using his changeup more. Luis Castillo can throw the ball almost as hard as Greene, but Castillo’s secret to success is his changeup, not his fastball.

      I wish Mario Soto would spend more time with Greene and really preach the gospel of a good changeup. Greene needs to hear it.

      • Tomn

        I thought Greene was excellent last night. He was hitting his spots and his slider and change kept the Rays off balance. Hated see him have to leave but of course that was the right move. But Greene looked to me like he had his best stuff of the season.

    • Old Big Ed

      Agreed. I always thought that Greene should watch tapes of mid-career Justin Verlander, who is the same size as Greene, with close to his athleticism. Verlander would cruise at 95-96, then reach back and hit 100 when he needed it.

      • Dan

        Agreed all around! I thought Hunter was outstanding – mostly with sliders and that nasty changeup – and I LOVE seeing him not at max effort!

        The Verlander comparison is a good one.

  10. Redsvol

    TJ Friedl for Mayor. Get your free yard signs at Doug’s house!

    • Tomn

      Just so long as his moyoral duties don’t interfere with Reds games!

  11. Doc

    I wondered also if maybe Greene was making adjustments, sitting at a still impressive high 90s but having another 2-4 mph in reserve, rather than humming at maximum speed all the time, to which good MLB hitters can more easily adjust. Time will tell. Good news that the injury doesn’t appear serious and xrays are negative. Just don’t pull a Dizzy Dean and come back too soon.

    • CI3J

      I think it’s good if Greene is taking just a little off his pitches but still has some in reserve if he needs it. Even a few MPH difference in speed can mess with a hitter’s timing, and can be the difference between weak contact and the ball being crushed.

      More importantly, it seems that Greene is better able to locate his pitches when he’s not going all-out, as he didn’t walk anyone.

    • Laura

      When I read their plan is to make sure he doesn’t miss his next start, Dizzy Dean popped into my head too. I hope Bell is smarter than Dean’s manager was.

    • DaveCT

      Or pitch in the all star game with a broken toe …

      Fun fact. My uncle was at AAA for the Cards and hit against Dean one spring training game. As my dad told it, Uncle Bob doubled off Dean in his first at bat and was “jawing” at him between 1st and 2nd. Next time up, 3 pitches, sit down. Uncle Bob said he never saw any of them.

  12. AMDG

    Thru 16 games last year the Reds had only scored 43 runs, but given up 84.
    This year they have given up a similar 80 runs, but have scored 82.

    It’s nice to see what a somewhat competent and healthy offense can do.

    In 2022 they had no regulars hitting 0.300 at this point in the season, and barely any starters hitting 0.250, but this time around the offense is doing much, much better.

    • Melvin

      I know averages aren’t supposed to mean as much anymore but still though I like looking at the stats and seeing three guys hitting over .300.

      • Jim Walker

        Well, if a guy is batting .300 or better that means his OBP can’t be significantly, if any, worse because outs are counted against both BA and OBP. Plus, if he has BBs, his OBP will be even better.

      • Jim Walker

        The only way a player could have a lower OBP than BA is if he had a number of sacrifice flies with virtually no walks or HPB to offset them because sac flies do not count against BA but do count as outs against OBP.

  13. Tom Reeves

    The goal this year is about player development and playing together as a team. And I’d say the Reds are doing that well.

    • Melvin

      Well they aren’t falling apart like they did this time last year.

  14. Rednat

    this team kind of reminds me of the teams from the mid 80’s . young, exciting up and coming players. you could just tell something was beginning to brew then and I am starting to feel it with this team. i do think we will need to dip into free agency to get a stud player like Dave Parker in the mid 80’s to take that next step to becoming a legitimate threat in the NL

  15. oklared

    What no Kudos to Bell for starting Newman I am shocked.

    • TR

      Kudos to Bell for not starting Newman at shortstop. Kudos to Bell for starting Senzel at third base. He belongs in the infield even if it is as a backup.

      • Dan

        Senzel looks good in the infield, doesn’t he?! Looks really comfortable. He’s made some tough plays, at both 2B and 3B!

      • DaveCT

        Senzel always seems happy in the infield and stressed out in the outfield.

  16. DW

    Gotta give the bullpen credit tonight. Who didn’t see things falling apart after Greene’s exit and Farmer’s entry? Great to see. Plus a productive offense.

  17. JB WV

    Senzel picked a couple of hot shots early like it was nothing. Gifted fielder. May blossom late as a hitter.

  18. RedsGettingBetter

    Greene had no fastball pitch above 98 MPH last night. When he did not come out in the fouth inning i was so worried because i did not realize the comebacker would have hurt him though he finished the 3rd pretty good so I thought there was something bad with his arm . Hopefully it would be just a matter of a cold weather.

    • Dan

      Or realizing that he’s good enough to get MLB hitters out with less than max effort! Personally, I love to see that!

      He can still reach back for a little extra when needed. I think it’s part of the maturation of a young power pitcher.

  19. SultanofSwaff

    Give credit where due—the bullpen won that game. Too bad for Greene, he had command of everything last night and was throwing the changeup finally.

    To me, run differential can be an indicator of whether a team is as good or bad as their record. The Brewers are +32 and 12-5, so you have to consider them legit so long as their pitching stays healthy. The Reds/Cubs/Pirates are slightly positive. Of those 3, you think the Pirates are whistling past the graveyard, the Cubs are probably that team, and the Reds could swing upward if the run prevention improves. The Cardinals, poor things, are -16. This could be the year where they finally have a losing season.

    • Jim Walker

      If the Cards have a losing season that may change the connotation of being anchored at the corner infield spots by Goldschmidt and Arenado 😉

  20. TJ

    @Doug Gray….How did you become a Reds fan?

  21. Jim t

    Still have quite a few holes but the team is moving forward. They play hard and and compete.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree, but a critical phase is on the horizon. They have to figure out which of the comers are keepers and which comers or current guys get moved to fill holes they can’t best fill internally. This will be further complicated by the need to reposition some keepers.

      • Jim t

        @Jim from a position player stand point I feel like on the current roster we have 4 keepers. Freidl, Steer, India, Stephenson. Barrera could make 5 if he moves his game forward.Big if right now.

        Starting pitchers

        Bull pen

        That is the core we need to build around. There could be another bullpen arm or two but I would like to wait before I commit

  22. MBS

    Odd proposal, but if the Reds are in it around the trade deadline, and we have Abbott up and being a solid contributor to the rotation. Should the Reds become buyers? A veteran starter, bullpen help?

    We have the prospect capital, and I just feel like were going to stick around .500 for a while. When CES, McLain, EDLC, Abbott, and maybe others fortify this team, I could see them going on a run. The other option is 23 is what 23 will be, and add the Reds add free agent pitching in 24.

    I tend to think the wait for 24 is the way to go, but I wouldn’t be mad about an addition to the pen or two that didn’t ding our prospect depth too much.

    • old-school

      I think they very well could be buyers, but more for controlled pieces who are succeeding in the big leagues now to add to 2024 +. ( a controlled starter, controlled bullpen piece, catcher). Losing clubs are always shedding arbitration players who arent in their winning window and faced with raises for arb years 4/5/6.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Yes, buyers for sure if they’re competitive. We have prospect capital and (presumably) money to spend since the payroll is near nothing. Why waste a controllable year for our big 3, who’d match up favorably in any playoff series.

    • DaveCT

      What is this “buyers” you speak of? I’ve not heard of it.

      • Mario

        No way this team is close enough to the playoff race to become buyers. 2/5 of the rotation is still a huge question mark and the bullpen is inconsistent. They have 3 hitters at Louisville (2 currently injured) that are nearly ready for promotion but nowhere to play them (so Vosler, Senzel, and Newman can get their AB’s).